Trump Is Asking His Fans to Pay for New “Trump Force One” Plane

Donald Trump’s PAC sent a fundraising email touting the construction of a new private jet, dubbed “Trump Force One,” hours after Trump’s plane was forced to make an emergency landing over the weekend, according to Insider.

According to the Associated Press, Trump’s plane made an unscheduled landing in New Orleans last Saturday as he was returning from a Republican National Committee donor event, in New Orleans, to his Mar-a-Lago resort, Palm Beach. Politico. According to the, the plane, which belonged to a donor who loaned the plane to Trump for the event suffered an engine failure 75 miles after it took off from New Orleans. It had to return. Washington Post. Trump eventually returned home in the plane of Craig Estey, another Republican donor and chairman of Nevada Restaurant Services.

Hours after the incident was reported, the Trump Save America PAC sent a fundraising email about a “very important update on his plane,” according to Insider.

“Do you want to see the new Trump Force One?” the email asked, with a link to a site that asks for monthly recurring donations of up to $2,500.

“I have a very important update on my plane, but I need to trust that you won’t share it with anyone,” said the email, which was signed by Trump (and presumably sent to many thousands of actual or possible donors). “My team is building a BRAND NEW Trump Force One.”

“The construction of this plane has been under wraps,” the email said, “not even the fake news media knows about it — and I can’t wait to unveil it for everyone to see.”

Critics accused the self-proclaimed millionaire of bilking his followers of money to purchase a private jet.

“These folks are grifters,” tweeted journalist Roland Martin.

“If your billionaire savior needs you to pay for his jet maybe he’s not being honest about his wealth,” wrote Fox NewsChris Hahn, contributor

“Trump is entering televangelist territory at this point,” saidDerek Martin from Accountable.US, a government watchdog group. “I thought this guy was ultra-wealthy?”

The old “Trump Force One,” a Boeing 757 that Trump bought in 2011 and used frequently on the campaign trail in 2016, has been sitting unused and in disrepair at an airport in Newburgh, New York, about 60 miles north of Manhattan, CNNReport last year. One of the plane’s engines is missing parts while the other is shrink-wrapped in plastic, according to the report. Instead, Trump has been using a smaller 1997 Cessna that “isn’t his favorite,” a Trump confidant told CNN, because it “doesn’t have his name on the outside.”

Aviation experts were shocked that Trump had left his favorite plane outside in the elements, but a former senior Trump advisor said CNN that “flying that thing was so expensive” that “just to get it up in the air and make one stop was literally tens of thousands of dollars.”

It’s unclear whether Trump is actually buying a new jet or simply using donor funds to repair his old jet. Trump said last May that the original “Trump Force One” was being “fully restored and updated and will be put back into service.” He added that the plane would get new engines and a new paint job and will be “again used at upcoming rallies.”

It’s unclear whether Trump’s PAC is raising money that will go directly towards the plane.

“PACs are often used as slush funds,” Paul S. Ryan, a campaign finance expert at the good government nonprofit Common Cause, told CNN. “Campaign finance law doesn’t require PAC money to be used for political purposes, leaving open the possibility that Trump could use PAC funds to pay for private plane repairs.”